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Engindeer 02-09-11 10:10 AM

etymology of "boltgun"
The mind wanders and wonders...

What is the meaning behind the word 'bolt' in boltgun / bolter?

I found these various definitions:

1. A bar made of wood or metal that slides into a socket and is used to fasten doors and gates.
2. A metal bar or rod in the mechanism of a lock that is thrown or withdrawn by turning the key.
3. A fastener consisting of a threaded pin or rod with a head at one end, designed to be inserted through holes in assembled parts and secured by a mated nut that is tightened by applying torque.
a. A sliding metal bar that positions the cartridge in breechloading rifles, closes the breech, and ejects the spent cartridge.
b. A similar device in any breech mechanism.
5. A short, heavy arrow with a thick head, used especially with a crossbow.
6. A flash of lightning; a thunderbolt.
7. A sudden or unexpected event: The announcement was a veritable bolt.
8. A sudden movement toward or away.
9. A large roll of cloth of a definite length, especially as it comes from the loom.


I can't grasp exactly which is the most fitting, but the most likely is probably 'bolt' as in 'crossbow bolt' - a metal arrow.

But then, the bolter shells aren't arrows - they're caseless rocket slugs!

What do you guys think?

Cowlicker16 02-09-11 10:17 AM

Closest you have would probably be 4A, from the exp I have from guns (only includes the M16) the bolt slides foward moving the bullet into the chamber then hits the primer shooting the bullet, which causes it to go back far enough to re-push the next bullet into chamber

Oldenhaller 02-09-11 10:24 AM

I'd have thought a combination of quarrel/bolt and lightning/bolt - especially as they were in thunder armour when the bolter was being used on earth


Hooobit 02-09-11 11:10 AM

It could just of been civilian tech used for war, like a nail gun but one that originally fired M12 bolts, now it fires rockets.

As long as the barrell and breach are the right size it could be done i guess.

lawrence96 02-09-11 12:45 PM

IG Codex,PG.68

"The boltgun, or bolter, is a rare and devastating weapon amongst the ranks of the imperial guard. It fires self-propelled missiles or 'bolts' the explode upon penetrating its target, blowing it apart from the inside"
The guns called a boltgun because it fires bolts. so the real question should be why are they called bolts?

Phoebus 02-09-11 02:47 PM

Oldenhaller has it. "Bolt" is meant to evoke archaic concepts of munitions, energy, etc. It's meant to be thematic, not literal. A fighter aircraft, for instance, does not actually fight, does it? :grin:

BlackGuard 02-09-11 07:24 PM

From reading the books and putting two and two together, the best opinion and theory I have as to what a "bolt" actually is; is that its essientally a miniture rocket-propelled gernade.

If you look at the discription given by many of the authors -- the bolt essientally is a mass-reactive shell. Meaning the tip has some sort of programming (doubtful) or rather some primitive sensor that registers that its hitting something with mass of some sort, then it simply explodes.

We actually have technology similar to that today.

Actually, in a ironic display that can only mean Tzeentch himself has ordained this thread with his complexity of blessings -- I found this on Youtube.

How accurate is this? Not 100% sure, but their explanation and presentation are excellent.

Capt.Al'rahhem 02-09-11 08:44 PM

:goodpost: good find, now perhaps we can dispel the myth that Bolters are "caseless". Of course they have cases, how else could we have all the epic pictures of Spacemarines standing in a pile of brass.

gen.ahab 02-10-11 05:58 AM

13 Attachment(s)
Gun shoot bolt= boltgun. Simple.

Hooobit 02-10-11 12:02 PM

That guy's voice sounded just wrong on the video. It's not a caseless ammunition, any idiot can tell that from THE EJECTION PORT ON THE BOLTGUN thats been on the models for ages.

Also, isn't rocket propellent kept in 2 separate containers?

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